For the third year running the University of Aberdeen is set to host the exciting student and youth-led WayWORD Festival from 20-25 September 2022.
Featuring headliners including Monica Ali, Raymond Antrobus, Christopher Brookmyre, Jenny Colgan, C.J. Cooke, Bee Asha Singh, Alan Spence, Booker Prize-winner Douglas Stuart, Esther Woolfson and more, the intergenerational cross-arts festival will see more than 30 free to attend workshops, author events, panel discussions and performance nights take place on campus in Old Aberdeen, Aberdeen Central Library and The Blue Lamp, as well as some livestreamed online events.
This year’s WayWORD also boasts a vibrant community programme, including comic workshops in the City and Aberdeenshire, and two mini-festivals co-organised by 14-15 year-olds with mentoring from staff, as well as university and college students.
Launched in 2020 to celebrate the University's 525th anniversary, WayWORD highlights ‘unconventional forms of expression’ by bringing under-explored arts and artists to the fore. With British Sign Language interpretation and captions for online events, the 2022 event will cover topics such as nature, video art, poetry, music, flash fiction, photography, mental health, contemporary drama, TikTok and Insta identities, narrative games and dance.
This year’s line-up includes public workshops in songwriting with Chamber Music Scotland’s Gareth Williams, street art, Gaelic song, creative writing about mental health and landscape, and panel discussions on gaming, fan fiction, queer horror and performing Identities on social media, featuring TikTok’s Celia and Instagram sensation Aiberdeen Mannie.
With other performers including international visual artists Sherko Abbas and Afsoon, poets Padraig Regan and Naush Sabah, horror writers Ever Dundas, Bibi June and Jonathan Sims, theatre director Debbie Hannan and rap poet Bee Asha Singh, besides wel known local voices Sheena Blackhall, Mae Diansangu, Shane Strachan and Jo Gilbert. There will also be pop-up performances by South Asian dancer Shashwati Pattwakar Vinod and the Polish-Scottish Choir.
There will be book launches of new work by David Wheatley and Timothy C Baker, as well as Creative Writing alumna Rachelle Atalla, whose debut novel, The Pharmacist is published this year. WayWORD Community Festival includes events at Riverbank Primary School, Tillydrone, by Dreams Can Come Moo children’s author Matt Kinghorn, and Hazlehead Academy ‘Art for Life’ mini-fest, featuring young adult author Maya MacGregor.
Dr Helen Lynch, Director of the University of Aberdeen WORD Centre for Creative Writing and Festival Creative Director, said: "The last two festivals have been really successful but this year has the extra challenge of offering a full face-to-face festival experience for the first time, as well as keeping some online content for those who can’t join us in-person.
"This year’s youth committee have been wonderful in coming up with great event ideas and learning loads of new skills to be able to be involved in every aspect of WayWORD. They really give the festival its unique flavour each year and keep it fresh and exciting, as well as putting in a huge amount of work and creativity to deliver such a wide variety of events."
WayWORD is curated each year by students from across the University, as well as other young people from Aberdeen City and Shire, working with staff of the WORD Centre for Creative Writing and SLLMVC and former students involved in 2020 and 2021.
It provides mentoring and hands-on experience for students in all aspects of arts admin, events organisation and delivery - from author liaison, programme design, and budgeting to marketing, AV and tech support, event chairing and performing. Despite the commonly held idea that studying arts subjects doesn’t lead to a career, these young people receive valuable training and experience and several previous WayWORD Committee members have gone on to secure jobs in the creative industries, as gallery curators and with other festivals.
WayWORD is funded by University of Aberdeen and Creative Scotland.
Although all events are free, ticket booking is required. For more information visit www.waywordfestival.com